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Beautification board observes Arbor Week

Mayor Paul Finley and Liz Smith, a Master Gardener, planted a tree at City Hall for Arbor Week. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Madison Beautification and Tree Board planted ‘seeds of learning’ and actual trees during Arbor Week in late February.

Mayor Paul Finley joined employees in the Parks and Recreation Department and beautification board members to celebrate Madison’s qualification with “Tree City USA.” This year marks the 16th consecutive time that the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Madison as a Tree City. 

Master Gardener Liz Smith, Finley and beautification volunteers planted two Japanese maple trees at City Hall. “The Tree City flag will fly at the Madison Gateway (at Hughes Road and Madison Boulevard) as a sign of Madison’s commitment to urban forest management,” beautification publicist Michael Keenan said.

The Cat Bird Seat provided the Japanese maples, which the beautification board donated.

Following the tree planting, Dr. Art Chappelka, alumni professor in Auburn University’s School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences, opened Arbor Day sessions in Council Chambers. Chappelka’s presentation dealt with the cultural importance that trees play in communities. 

“Dr. Chappelka’s focus was a case study on oak trees of Toomer’s Corner at Auburn,” Keenan said. Tim Albritton, an Alabama Staff Forester for Natural Resources Conservation Service in Auburn, then explained trees’ significance in industry and with families. 

“Mr. Albritton showed that trees not only are a source of income but can be a focal point to bring families together to create lasting memories,” Keenan said.

In other activities, the beautification board sponsored an Arbor Day Poster Contest for fifth-graders in Madison public and private schools. The mayor and council congratulated winners at the council’s Feb. 27 meeting. ‘

Finley presented certificates and cash awards for Arbor Day posters to 28 fifth-graders from Columbia, Heritage, Madison, Mill Creek, Rainbow, St John’s and West Madison elementary schools. The 2017 theme was “Trees Are Terrific … and Forests Are Too!” 

Members of North Alabama Master Gardeners judged more than 400 posters. First-place winners from each school will advance to the state contest. “The City of Madison and Madison Beautification and Tree Board would like thank all entrants for their contributions and also congratulate our award winners,” Keenan said.

Current officers of the beautification board are President Karen Lawler; Vice-President of Beautification Board Amber Braman; Vice-President of Tree Board Marsha Harris; Treasurer Julie Ray; Secretary Karen Forsyth; Pride of Madison Chair Beth Agee; and Publicist and Chamber of Commerce Representative Michael Keenan.

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